Weight Management

Outsmart your diet

My college students just began the discussion of weight management. I tell my class it’s my favorite subject in nutrition; admittedly I say that about all the nutrition topics we cover, but this one is special.

Weight loss is a subject so fraught with such firmly held pieces of misinformation and bad ideas that I enjoy the disassembly of these unsuccessful strategies. It’s generous to use the word “strategy”.

Restrictive diets and injury-causing excessive exercise are usually the beginning and end of the latest best seller or celebrity-endorsed “plan”.

As we’ve said before the causes of overweight and obesity are many; so logically, there cannot be a single solution to weight management. Restrictive miserly diets be damned.

But back to the word “strategy”  – through the rest of the year, periodically, I’d like to share strategies everyone can use to outsmart his diet.

Today’s tip is derived from an article published in the Journal of Marketing Research. In a study of over 800 subjects, those ordering lunch an hour or more before lunchtime selected lower calorie meals. Common sense, right?

Plans result in good choices. No plans result in an “energy” bar for lunch, vending dining an hour later and excessive calories at dinner because you “saved” all those lunch calories.

Plan ahead, don’t open the menu, don’t look at others’ plates…make healthy restaurant choices to be well,


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Q & A, How to lose weight, 3

bathroom-scalepixThis Q came from one of my students who thinks she needs to lose weight.

Q: I’d like to lose 25 pounds, how long will it take me?

A: Well, I’m not totally on board with the question. Excuse the pun, but could we break it down into doable bites?

How about working on this incrementally by starting with the first 5 pounds. Sounds more achievable don’t you think?

Another thought I had about the question itself – our goal should not be to lose WEIGHT but to lose FAT. I know you thought I was going to say our goal should be to eat healthy. Or perfectly. Or correctly. But those hurdles, I think, are awfully high ones.

So rephrasing the question, how long will it take to lose 5 pounds of fat seems like a good one.

Mathematically, your body can manage a drop in fat of about 1/2 to 1 pound each week, assuming one is not morbidly obese. I know you’re thinking YIKES! That will take me forever to lose 5 pounds. No, that will take you 5 – 10 weeks.

Most probably it took that long to put on the fat, so it’s reasonable to think it will take that long to lose that same fat. But there’s the word “reasonable”.

We can try something more dramatic, as we’ve discussed, but those crazy diets and methods aren’t sustainable. “Unreasonable” doesn’t work, so why keep trying it. Slow and steady wins the race….to be well.


PS Funny Patty Lawson, From The Dining Car, always keeps us on the right track; she recently wrote: I read that chocolate slows down the aging process. This may not be true, but  why take a chance?

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